From Where I Sit – Stories Worth Reading

During our recent plumbing emergency and all the preparation for a tour group of visitors to my art studio/gallery, a lot of things got neglected. One of the most annoying things to me was the lack of time to read the Edmonton Journal and National Post each day. Even when I have 14 or 16 papers piled up and waiting for me, I can’t just discard them without reading them.

Here’s just a taste of what captured my attention during the catch-up.

An Edmonton Journal article explained the results of a Colorado State University study into road rage. The study defines bumper stickers, window decals, vanity plates, decorative seat covers, and other adornments as ?territory markers.?

Their presence is also a predictor of a road rage response to offensive behaviour. They predict aggressive behaviour more reliably than vehicle condition or value. It seems that the mere presence of at least one marker (regardless how innocuous the message) led drivers to be ?15 percent more likely to retaliate when they felt their territory had been threatened.?

It appears these people have blurred the line between ?the public territory of the road and private territory of the vehicle.? They in fact think they ?own the road.? So the next time You’re tempted to honk, tailgate, or block traffic, check first for bull’s balls, oversized dice, bumper stickers, or the little-boy-peeing decal.

I can’t say I’m impressed with the plan by the Kelowna airport to begin using technology to ?see? through clothing while checking for weapons or explosives. Despite the safeguards in place I resent the invasion of privacy. The official watching the screen is in another room and not able to see the passenger. Images are not to be stored, printed, or transmitted. Images are detailed enough to show an outline of underwear, inserted catheters, penile implants, mastectomies, and vasectomies.

Apparently, this will make Kelowna the first Canadian airport to use the technology. How soon before it comes to an airport near me?

Finally, a coroner’s report into the death of a nine-year-old autistic boy in Montreal was released showing suffocation as the likely cause of death. The news was heartbreaking to the parents, who had been told he passed away ?naturally and calmly.? It appears that a teacher incorrectly used a 40-pound blanket as punishment for the boy, who was making loud noises. The blanket was wrapped around the 53-pound boy four times and left only the tips of his toes exposed. He was on his stomach, head covered for more than 20 minutes. Used correctly, the blanket has a calming, therapeutic effect on autistic children. Needless to say a lawsuit is planned. How tragic, how preventable.

can’t say I read a single word on the Mideast crisis, American flooding, or the municipal airport debate. I gravitate to the weird, the obscure, and the memorable . . . stories that explain the human condition. Stories worth reading, even late, from where I sit.

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